Here at Comms Express, we love how far technology has progressed over the last thirty or so years. The history of computers is fascinating! From Charles Babbage’s early machines, right down to the latest iPhone, we have been spoiled with technology. Computers are getting smaller and more powerful. AI is taking over. And driverless cars are on the horizon.

Granted we’re not floating around on Hoverboards ala Marty McFly. Arguably, we have something even better – the World Wide Web. Since that first critical proposal written by Sir Tim Berners Lee in 1989, our world has changed beyond all perception. The World Wide Web suddenly made the world a lot smaller. We had all the information, conversation and cat memes our hearts desired.

Where would be without the ability to send and receive emails?

Where would we be without the capability to communicate with loved ones or work colleagues via Skype?

Where would we be without the ability to share our lives with friends?

We can create a dialogue with companies and brands via Facebook and Twitter and the ever increasing Social Media tools open to us today. Real-time news changed the way we accessed events happening around the globe. Real social change was witnessed across the world with the aid of sharing social injustices via YouTube and Reddit. All made possible by the World Wide Web.

The history of computers is filled with massive machines. A huge room full of servers, all servicing one little computer doing one simple task.  Now, of course, all that is achieved via our android phones, via iPads and today’s home PC. It’s virtually unrecognisable when compared to early versions of computers.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the history of technology

History of Computers Timeline

1613

Richard Brathwait uses the term “Computer” in his book “The Yong Mans Gleanings”. This is the first known use of the word.

1801
Joseph Marie Jacquard invents a loom that automatically weaves fabric designs. The Loom uses small punch cards to control the patterns the loom weaved into the fabric. This punch card system is picked up by other computer inventors throughout the 19th century.

1822

Charles Babbage begins building a steam-powered computer, known as The Difference Machine. The English government fund the project. This is thought to be one of the first technology grants ever given.

1843

Ada Lovelace publishes her thoughts to Babbage’s Difference Machine. She wrote her thoughts of how a computer could use code to solve problems. Her paper is thought to include the first computer algorithm. While Babbage believed computers could only be used to calculate mathematical problems. Lovelace was convinced that computers could do far more.

1873

Sholes and Glidden typewriter (also known as Remington No. 1) is released with the first QWERTY keyboard. The original keyboard layout had a period in the place of an R. When Remington and Sons purchased the designs from the invention, they moved the R button to the period’s position. This layout is still used on modern computers today.

1890

Herman Hollerith creates a machine to assist the US government summerise and analyse censuses. His machine uses a complicated punch card system.

1911

Four companies, The Tabulating Machine Company, the Computing Scale Company of America, the International Time Recording Company, and the Bundy Manufacturing Company, combine to form Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. Several years later, the company later rebrands as IBM.

1941

Alan Turing writes to Winston Churchill asking for funds for his Engima Code breaking machine. Churchill replies with a simple message: “ACTION THIS DAY. Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this has been done.”

Also in 1941, The J.V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry present the ABC computer at Iowa State College. The Computer is the first to use stored memory, which was used to calculate multiple equations at one time.

1944

John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert, build the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC). The machine fills a 20-foot by 40-foot room.

1947

Bell Laboratories invents the transistor. This removed the need for vacuum pipes in computers, radios and televisions.

1954

Grace Hopper is promoted to head of director of automatic programming. Her department released some of the first compiler-based programming languages.

1957

USSR launches Sputnik, the first artificial satellite placed in orbit.

1958

Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce unveiled their Integrated Circuit – known as a computer chip.

1963

ASCII is developed to allow machines from different manufacturers to exchange data.

1964

Douglas Engelbart shows a prototype of the modern computer, complete with two new patents a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI).

1975

Bill Gates and Paul Allen found Microsoft

1976

Apple is founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne.

1982

The Commodore 64 is released. The iconic 8-bit home computer was a huge hit with 17 million systems sold.

1985

The first dot-com name is registered by the Symbolics Computer Company.

1990

Tim Berners-Lee creates Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), which helps bring about his vision of the World Wide Web.

1991

Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis send the first email from space.

1996

While at Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page developed the Google search engine.

2003

The first 64-bit processor, AMD’s Athlon 64 is released to consumers.

2004

Mark Zuckerburg launches TheFacebook, a Harvard College social network. Zuckerburg soon expands the signups to include other universities.

2005

Google acquires Android and soon becomes a big player in the mobile space.

2006

Microblogging platform Twitter is launched under the name Twttr. Co-founder Jack Dorsey sent the first ever Tweet: “just setting up my twttr”

2007

Apple releases the iPhone. While not the first smartphone, it did bring the technology into mainstream attention. It also gives much better internet browsing capabilities.

2010

Apple unveils the iPad. A brand new device using their IOS system designed to be a step between smartphones and desktops.

2011

Google launches Google+, a networking site where connections are added to circles. Google+ is later integrated into all Google products.

2012

Huge online brands launch the “Go Dark” Campaign. Websites such as Wikipedia, Google and more censored or restricted access to their websites to protest against a proposed anti-piracy law by the US government.

2014

Amazon buys live streaming website Twitch for $970 million.

2017

Facebook reaches 2 billion monthly users

2019

The EU is one step closer to passing Article 13, an online copyright law which will block copyright content, including memes, gifs and online videos.

Where would the computer be without the World Wide Web? Three W’s changed our futures forever. Now if we need to fix something we can look it up on the internet. If we need to access news or the sports results we can get it instantly.

And yet it never ceases to amaze us that we can make this journey on the internet possible by rather simple means, Network Cables! So all this joy, this brave new world, starts and ends via a little lead on your modem or PC so as you can connect with the Internet.

Technology has changed the world around us. Who knows what technologies will bring us in the future. But we do know that Networks will always be part of it, in one way or another.